It can be difficult to decide exactly what to focus on when doing a "best of" book, so the editors at Knit It magazine cast a wide net for Better Homes and Gardens Best of Knit It. The book includes more than 100 patterns for knitters and crocheters, in the genres of women's garments, bags and purses, accessories, babies, kids and home decor.
There are even sections on knitting for charity (with an additional 5 projects) and knit and crochet basics in case you need a refresher on a particular skill used in any of the projects.
About the Book
- Pages: 272
- Format: paperback
- Number of patterns: 73, though several patterns include more than one item, adding up to more than 100 patterns in all; 21 of the projects are crocheted
- Skill level: 2 patterns are rated for beginners, 41 are easy, 25 are intermediate and 9 for experienced knitters
- Sizes: vary widely depending on the project, but there are patterns for women, babies and kids
- Illustrations: full-color photographs; techniques are illustrated with drawings
- Knitting lessons: 8 pages cover the basics of knitting and crochet, including 2 cast ons (but only the 3-needle bind off), 2 increases, 3 decreases and other skills
- Publication date: August 2011
Best of Knit It has no introduction at all, no information about who selected the patterns, what they were looking for or why now was the time for a "best of" book. I guess most of that doesn't really matter to the average knitter who's just looking for patterns, but I enjoy a bit of context in my knitting books when possible.
The book is well laid-out, with a chapter for each different kind of knitting presented. The patterns are presented magazine style, with a large picture to open each pattern and smaller pictures within the pattern itself.
There are no projects for men here (other than home decor items), and none of the patterns say exactly what type of yarn was used. I like patterns that give yarn weights and yardages so you can sub in any yarn you have in your stash, but I also like to know what yarn was used in the original. When the yarn is distinctive it can make a difference. For example the yarn used on the Multicolor Poncho and Leg Warmers is a brightly colored, fine weight, variegated, self-striping yarn with long color changes. Using a yarn with shorter color runs would give the finished project a much different look.
Still, if you're willing to scrutinize the pictures and your yarn choices, there are some nice projects here, including:
- the two-color Mosaic Jacket, featuring bold squares of color
- the Peplum Cardigan, featuring a rib-like pattern of little waves and Stockinette
- the simple duster-style Long Fitted Cardigan
- the textured, asymmetrical Mandarin Collar Jacket
- the Felted Tapestry Bag, with signature Nicky Epstein style
- the Irresistible Dots Infant Set, which includes a hat, sweater and sampler-style blanket
- the super-cute Girl's Ruffled Cardigan, with a woven-look stripe pattern and ruffled edgings
- the Child's Striped Hoodie for bigger kids, with easy-to-wear ribbing and a simple stripe pattern
There are a few patterns in this book that I really don't like, either because they already look dated from whenever they appeared in the magazine or because I just don't think they're flattering. But in 100 patterns, there are sure to be some good ones and some bad ones.
If you enjoy big pattern collections that give you a lot of options for gift giving, charity knitting and projects to make for yourself, Better Homes and Gardens Best of Knit It is a good choice. The projects will suit a wide variety of tastes and there's something for people of all skill levels, as well as those who also enjoy crochet.